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"alphonse" by Shirley Jackson

Essay by   •  April 3, 2013  •  Essay  •  256 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,079 Views

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Readers context effects how they response to issues raised in text.I live in a Multi cultural society this shapes my response of "Alphonse" by Shirely Jackson.I am amazed at how racist "regular white behavior" was considered in America 1940's.The fact that Mrs Wilson's non chalant racist remarks go unnoticed and was once considered "normal behavior" shocks me.the contrast in the innocence and tolerance of Johnny and Boyd and mrs Wilson's blind judgement helps emphasize her discrimination.In the society I was bought up to recognize someone by there name or there face.When Mrs Wilson shows Boyd where to sit "she saw he was a negro boy" and immediately began to undermine and patronize Boyd based in his skin colour for the rest of the text.

Offering him clothes because she thinks he is too poor to own any or thinking he eats anything because his family cannot afford food.This attitude in today's society would be considered rude and offensive.But when she assumes Boyd's mother works because his family is poor and he says no and Johnny states that mrs Wilson doesn't work either she is offended that she is even compared to a "Negro" woman and is rendered speechless.I also relate with Boyd and Johnny they don't see each other as "black" and "white" but friends playing games with tanks and sticks.They represent the desired racial attitudes. Boyds innocence and indiscriminate on helps reveal mrs Wilson's racism,when she says "Boyd will eat anything" and he responds with a confused no it helps show how ignorant mrs Wilson is.

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